|Australian Bush Cherry||(Syzygium paniculatum)||B,D,F,I ^|
| accepts low light levels, but does better when brighter; prune lightly regularly; let soil dry slightly before watering; it is the same plant as Eugenia paniculatum. [Myrtaceae; Myrtales]
General information: Eugenia is a large group of plants, some native and some non-native, including evergreen trees and shrubs, some of which have been reclassified to the genus Syzygium. The evergreen leaves are firm and glossy, and the flowers white. It is the dried buds of Eugenia aromatica (Syzygium aromaticum) which become the fragrant “herb” cloves. The flowers are followed by the production of berries, some types of which are edible. All these traits – the attractive foliage, flowers, and berries – help make Eugenia a popular landscape choice in warm climate areas, such as California, Florida, and Hawaii. Eugenia confusa (Ironwood, Red Stopper) is native to Florida and grows to about 35 feet and is well suited for street tree and parking lot planting. Eugenia foetida (Spanish Stopper) is also native and grows to about 15 feet tall.
A sub-tropical evergreen, with dark green ovate leaves formed in pairs. In spring, may bear small white flowers followed by red, edible fruit. With the exception of jaboticaba, Eugenia species have red, flaking bark. Surinam cherry is used extensively as a hedge plant in the Southern US.
Lighting: Full sun to part shade. Appreciates a bright position, about 1500 Lux, but can tolerate low light. If placed outdoors in summer, can usually tolerate full sun, although partial shade is recommended in the hottest areas.
Temperature: Never below 30F. Generally hardy in zones 10B and 11, otherwise can sucessfully be grown indoors. In summer, Eugenia likes the heat, while it prefers winter temperatures between 46-68F. Eugenia does not like draughts or a lot of variation in temperature.
Watering: Generously in summer, less in winter. Surinam cherry does not like variations in watering, preferring a consistantly slight moisture to being soaked and allowed to dry out. Lesniewicz recommends that Australian Brush cherry dry a little between waterings, but some posts testify that it will drop leaves if the soil dries. Eugenia needs humidity, so misting can be beneficial. Use distilled/rain water if your water is hard, as Eugenia does not tolerate salt.
Feeding: Every 2 weeks during heavy growth, and every 4-5 in winter. Eugenia likes a slightly acid soil, so the occasional use of Miracid is recommended.
Pruning and wiring: Can be pruned back hard, as it is a vigorous grower. Shorten new shoots with 6-8 pairs of leaves to 1-2 pairs. Can be wired while in active growth, but better shaping results are achieved with pruning. Protect the branches, as they scar easily. Leaf pruning can be done in summer on strong plants, but is not generally advised, as better leaf reduction results from timely pruning, and this plant has relatively small leaves in the first place. It is suitable for all styles, and for all but the largest sizes.
Propagation: By cuttings in summer, seeds in fall, air-layering.
Repotting: Every two years in early to mid-spring. Bottom heat helps to encourage root growth. Use basic bonsai soil, or an acid mix like azalea soil. Will withstand vigorous root pruning: jaboticaba can take up to 2/3 root loss, and while I would not recommend the following as a normal practice, up to 90% root removal has been performed sucessfully on Surinam cherry!
Pests and diseases: Pests: Scale, mealy bug, Caribbean fruit fly, aphids, red spider. Psyllids limit the tree’s usefulness in parts of California.
Diseases: No diseases are of major concern. May drop leaves if watering is inconsistant. Not salt tolerant.
Some species suitable for bonsai:
Compiled by Sabrina Caine